Probe Sampling Strategies for Traffic Monitoring Systems Based on Wireless Location Technology

Report No: 07-CR12

Published in 2007

About the report:

Transportation agencies have become very interested in traffic monitoring systems based on wireless location technology (WLT) since they offer the potential of collecting travel time data across a wide portion of the road system. Prior tests of WLT-based systems have been unsuccessful, in part because they have treated the road network as a homogeneous entity. This "area-wide" method has inherent limitations, causing congested roadways to be over sampled and uncongested and low volume roads to be under sampled. This project developed a methodology to estimate sampling parameters based on localized traffic conditions in the network, termed a "zonal approach." In zonal WLT systems, the roadway network is disaggregated into smaller areas, termed "zones," based on cellular coverage areas. In this research, two zonal sampling strategies were examined and tested using three simulated networks. When the road network is complex, the zonal priority sampling strategy was found to distribute probes throughout the network and produced a larger number of speed estimates on uncongested and low volume roads. Moreover, the zonal priority strategy improved speed estimation accuracy by 10 percent over the other two sampling strategies. For networks with simple geometry or uniform congested traffic conditions, there were no significant differences among the sampling strategies. The results of this research indicate that the homogeneous approach used by earlier deployments has limitations, and results could be potentially improved by tailoring sampling parameters to a more localized level.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


Other Authors

Anjani P. Yakkala, Brian L. Smith, Ph.D., Catherine C. McGhee, P.E.

Last updated: November 25, 2023

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